Update: Cell Phone Photography a means of preserving plant specimens

To date researchers have produced 90,000 leaf images using LeafView. In the past museums archived plant species by keeping catalogs and files of specimens. LeafView makes it easier to document and study specimens of plants. Smithsonian researchers have created an application for Iphone and Sony Vaio and are using it to add more specimens to the US National Herbarium.

With the launch of this project anyone can help save and document endangered species of plants. All you have to do is take a photo from your SmartPhone and share it on the LeafView database. Dr. Sean White a Pos-Graduate student at Columbia University first developed LeafView and was the winner of the 2009 Environment Laureate at the Tech Awards. Right now the App is only available to the researchers working with the Smithsonian institute but they hope to make it accessible to the public. In the future they are also aiming to produce applications for platforms like Google, Microsoft, Nokia etc.

The Smithsonian Researchers explain the project in-detail on their website. They state, “The type specimen digitization project has produced images of over 90,000 specimens. We have developed new, shape-based algorithms for plant species identification.  We apply these in handheld systems that currently focus on the flora of Plummers Island and the woody plants of the DC-Baltimore area.  We have developed working Tablet PC-, Ultra Mobile PC-, and Augmented Reality-based prototypes that have been evaluated in the field and in the laboratory.  We are currently working on improvements to the search algorithm, expansion of our data sets, and new mobile phone user interfaces.”

images from the Columbia University Herbarium Website

Written for and published on the Amvona Blog

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